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Roberts, Diane 1937-

Roberts, Diane 1937-

Personal

Born 1937; married; husband's name Jim; children: three.

Addresses

Home and office—Fort Worth, TX. E-mail—[email protected]

Career

Storyteller, puppeteer, and author.

Awards, Honors

Made You Look was nominated for several state book awards, 2005-06.

Writings

Made You Look, Delacorte (New York, NY), 2003.

Puppet Pandemonium, Delacorte (New York, NY), 2006.

Sidelights

Children's writer Diane Roberts got the idea for her first book, Made You Look, through her experience as a game-show contestant. As she noted on her home page, Roberts "won sixty pairs of shoes and a bright red coat." In Made You Look she creates "Masquerade Mania," a trivia game show that Jason, the main character in her novel, is dying to try out. When his family plans a vacation to California, Jason figures this will be his chance to accomplish his dream. Jason's quest is not quite that simple, however, because his parents decide to drive a camper from Texas to California rather than fly. Catastrophe follows catastrophe, from the instant the camping gear is attached to the roof of the family's SUV to Jason's mother turning everyone's underwear pink. "This light, fun fiction marks a solid start," wrote a Publishers Weekly critic, and Genevieve Gallagher maintained in School Library Journal that Made You Look "will be a big hit" because the "over-the-top elements … fit perfectly in this funny book."

In addition to her work as a writer, Roberts is a puppeteer. For thirty-seven years she and her puppets, led by Ricky Raccoon, have entertained groups at birthday parties, carnivals, and schools. Through puppetry, Roberts teaches children about energy conservation and the importance of reading. This interest in puppetry figures in her book Puppet Pandemonium, which introduces a new kid in town named Baker. Baker misses his old home, his grandmother, and his friends. Gram had him a ventriloquist puppet before he moved away,

[Image not available for copyright reasons]

[Image not available for copyright reasons]

and Baker now discovers that not only are kids in his new home town not as different from his old friends as he feared, but the puppet may be the key to helping him make new friends. Although Sadie Mattox noted in School Library Journal that the theme of being the new kid has been done before, "kids interested in puppetry might pick up a few tips." A Kirkus Reviews contributor concluded of Puppet Pandemonium that Roberts' inclusion of "gentle humor makes [the novel] … an easy, comfortable read."

Biographical and Critical Sources

PERIODICALS

Kirkus Reviews, October 15, 2006, review of Puppet Pandemonium, p. 1078.

Publishers Weekly, May 6, 2003, review of Made You Look, p. 70.

School Library Journal, September, 2003, Genevieve Gallagher, review of Made You Look, p. 220; December, 2006, Sadie Mattox, review of Puppet Pandemonium, p. 114.

ONLINE

Diane Roberts Home Page,http://www.dianeroberts.com (October 11, 2007).

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